St. Patrick Catholic Church
Saint of the Day
 

July 9



Agilulph of Cologne, OSB BM (AC)
Died after 720. Agilulph was a monk and abbot of Stavelot- Malmédy prior to his elevation to the archiepiscopal seat at Cologne (Germany). It seems that his zeal, possibly combined with some connivance on the part of Charles Martel, led to his martyrdom (Benedictines). In art, Saint Agilulph is portrayed as a bishop with a hawk on his hand singing at his command. Sometimes the bird is a dove or he may be shown in mitre and chasuble at the altar (Roeder).


Agrippinus of Autun B (AC)
Died 538. Bishop Agrippinus of Autun ordained Saint Germanus of Paris to both the diaconate and the priesthood (Benedictines).


Anatolia and Audax MM (RM)
Died c. 250. According to Saint Jerome, Anatolia was a Roman maiden who was denounced with her sister Victoria as a Christian by their rejected lovers. While in prison near Rieti, the miracles they performed converted their guard, Audax, and all were martyred under Decius. The Roman Martyrology, however, does not mention Victoria, and places the martyrdom at Thora in the diocese of Rieti, not far from the small village now called Sant' Anatolia. Otherwise the two stories agree (Benedictines, Encyclopedia). In art, the couple is shown with torches and serpents. They may also be shown delivering a man from a dragon or breathing in the face of a possessed man. They are venerated in Rieti (Roeder).


Benedict, Andrew, Barnabas, and Justus, OSB HH (AC)
Died 1008. These are four Polish brothers who were hermits (Benedictines).


Brictius of Martola B (RM)
Died c. 312. Bishop Brictius of Martola (near Spoleto), Umbria, Italy, was imprisoned for the faith under Diocletian, but he escaped martyrdom and died a confessor under Constantine (Benedictines).


Cyril of Crete BM (RM)
Died 250. Saint Cyril, an ancient bishop of Gortyna, Crete, was tortured and beheaded under Decius (Benedictines).


Everild of Everingham, OSB Abbess (AC)
(also known as Averil, Everildis)

Late 7th century. Sometime after King Kineglis of the West Saxons was baptized by Saint Birinus in 635, the noble Wessex maiden Everild was converted to Christ. Longing to devote herself most perfectly to the service and love of her heavenly spouse, she fled from her parents' house to seek a convent. En route she was joined by two other virgins named Saints Bega and Wuldreda. Saint Wilfrid of York gave them the veil at a place called the Bishop's Farm, later known as Everildisham, i.e., the dwelling of Everildis. This place may be Everingham (now Humberside), but E. Ekwall gives its derivation as "the ham of Eofor's people." Here she gathered a large community, eventually numbering 80 women, and trained them in Christian perfection through her example and continual encouragement. Usuard's martyrology and two others mention her, as do the calendars of York and Northumbria. Alford sent the Bollandists a transcript of her lessons once used in the York breviary, which is the source of this information (Benedictines, Farmer, Husenbeth).


Golvinus (Golwen) of Rennes B (AC)
Died 7th century? Although Golvinus was born in Britain, his sanctity became famous after his migration to Brittany. He was promoted to the bishopric of Saint Pol-de-Léon, and died at Rennes, where his relics are enshrined (Benedictines).


Gorkum, 19 Martyrs of (RM)
Died at Briel, The Netherlands, July 9, 1572; beatified in 1675 by Pope Clement X; canonized in 1867. The Reformation gained its foothold in the Netherlands in opposition to the Catholicism of the Spanish princes of the country--not primarily for religious, but rather for political reasons. Anti-Spanish and Calvinist soldiers banded together into lawless armies of pirates, and, unpaid and disillusioned, foraged for themselves in the seaports, looking for plunder.

Reproached by the clergy, they turned on the Church and one band of pirates led by the Gueux laid siege to the city of Gorkum, capturing it in June 26, 1572 after a struggle. For reprisal-- because of the city's determined defense--they gathered all members of the clergy in Gorkum into one miserable prison and set about taking revenge on the priests for their own grievances against the Spanish crown.

The priests were tortured, subjected to all kinds of indignities, and offered their freedom if they would abjure Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and the primacy of the pope. Angered by the endurance of the priests, the Calvinist increased their abuses. Some of the religious were very old and infirm, but one and all, even to an aged Augustinian who was so weak he could barely stand, they bore their martyrdom with patience and sweetness for ten terrible days.

They were repeatedly asked to deny the Real Presence, and just as repeatedly refused, which brought on more and more dreadful tortures. When they continued to refuse, despite a letter from Prince William of Orange ordering their release and protests from the magistrates of Gorkum, they were thrown half-naked into the hold of a ship on July 6, and taken to another city to be killed in the presence of a Protestant nobleman, Admiral Luney, a man noted for his hatred of Catholicism.

After being exhibited to the curious townspeople (who paid to see the spectacle) and subjected to every type of torture, the 19 priests and religious were hanged in an old barn at deserted Ruggen Monastery on the outskirts of Briel. Stripped of their habits and made, like their Master, "the reproach of men and the outcast of the people," they benefitted by their Christ-like sufferings and deaths. Their bodies, mutilated before or after death, were callously thrown into a ditch. The 19 martyrs included eleven Franciscans (called Recollects), two Premonstratensians, one Dominican, one canon regular of Saint Augustine, and four secular priests.

Two of those who died had led less than holy lives, but by their heroic constancy in the hour of trial blotted out the stains that might otherwise have kept them out of heaven. Sadly, there should have been 20 martyrs of Gorkum. One, who weakened and was released after he had denied the Real Presence, lived but 24 hours to enjoy his wretched freedom.

The other 19 gloriously went to heaven. The scene of the martyrdom soon became a place of pilgrimage, where all the Christian world reverenced the men who were so courageously obedient until death. Accounts of several miracles, performed by their intercession and relics, were used for their beatification and published by the Bollandists. Most of their relics are kept in the Franciscan church at Brussels to which they were secretly conveyed from Briel in 1616. Below are the names of the martyrs and the stories that I could find:

* Adrian Beanus, O. Praem.

* Adrian van Hilvarenbeek

* Fr. Andrew Wouters, OFM, was a priest at Heinot near Dortrecht. He led a scandalous life, but when the Calvinists tried to compel him to renounce the Catholic faith, he expiated his past by a brave confession, was imprisoned at Briel with the others and hanged.

* Fr. Antony van Hoornaer, OFM

* Fr. Antony van Weert, OFM

* Fr. Antony van Willehad, OFM, from Denmark

* Cornelius van Wyk (near Utrecht), OFM, was born at Dorestat near Utrecht. He took the Franciscan habit at Gorkum as a lay brother.

* Fr. Godefried of Mervel, OFM, was a painter and the custos of the Franciscan house at Gorkum.

* Fr. Godrey van Duynsen, native of Gorkum, was captured with Leonard Vechel and Nicholas Jannsen in Gorkum and sent to Briel, the Netherlands, where they were hanged. Previously, he had been the rector of a school in Paris.

James Lacops, O. Praem., was a native of Oudenarden, Flanders. He was a Norbertine at Middelburg and in 1566 apostatized, wrote, and preached against the Church. Then he repented, returned to his abbey, and was martyred by the Calvinists.

* Fr. Jerome Weerden, OFM, was born in Werden, the Netherlands, in 1522. He spent several years in Palestine as a Franciscan missionary. Jerome was a powerful preacher against Calvinism and at the time of his capture was the vicar of the friary of Gorkum under Saint Nicholas of Pieck.

* Fr. John van Hoornaer, OFM

* John van Oosterwyk, OSA, was a native of the Netherlands who joined the Augustinians at Briel. He was the director and confessor of a community of Augustinian nuns at Gorkum when the town was taken by the Calvinists.

* John of Cologne, OP, was a Dominican religious of his convent in Cologne, Germany who performed the duties of a parish priest in Horner, the Netherlands. When he heard of the plight of the poor priests captured in Gorkum, he left the relative safety of his parish and entered Gorkum in disguise to render whatever assistance he could. Several times he entered the city to dispense the sacraments, and to bring consolation to the priests who were being cruelly tortured. Eventually, he also was taken prisoner and subjected to torture.

* Leonard Vechel (Veehel, Wegel, Wichel), the elder pastor at Gorkum, was born in Bois-le-Duc, Holland. He studied in Louvain, where he earned a great reputation in his theological studies under the celebrated Ruard Tapper, was ordained, and became a parish priest at Gorkum known for his uncommon zeal, piety, eloquence, and learning. He had a remarkable ability to solve difficult problems. He tenderly cared for the poor, especially those that were sick, giving of himself as well as of his substance. He reproved vice without respect of persons, but his meekness and patience disarmed many who had been long deaf to remonstrations. He was in active opposition to Calvinism. He and his assistant Nicholas Jannsen Poppel of Welde, Belgium, were among those seized by a Calvinist mob at Gorkum.

* Fr. Nicholas Janssen Poppel (van Heeze), OFM, a native of Heeze, Brabant, from which he derived the name Nicasius van Heeze, was an associate pastor to Vechel. He was captured with his pastor, Leonard Vechel, and Godrey van Duynsen.

* Fr. Nicholas Pieck--Nicholas was the guardian of the Observant Franciscan house at Gorkum. This eminent, 38-year-old preacher was a native of the Netherlands who studied at Louvain and made missionary activities among the Calvinists his life's work. He had an intense zeal for holy poverty and mortification, yet his constant cheerfulness rendered piety and penance itself amiable. He is known for repeating, "We must always serve God with cheerfulness." Fr. Pieck had often expressed an earnest desire for martyrdom, but considered himself unworthy for that honor. He and four other priests were among the first seized when Calvinist forces opposed to the Spanish rule seized the town in June.

* Peter of Assche, OFM, from near Brussels, Belgium, was a Franciscan lay brother at Gorkum.

* Fr. Theodore van der Eem, OFM, from Amersfoort.

Vivid portrayals of their martyrdom survive in paintings by Jan van Sande and Cesare Fracassini (Benedictines, Delaney, Dorcy, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Husenbeth).


Blessed Jane Scopelli, OC V (AC)
Born in Reggio d'Emilia, Italy, c. 1428; died there in 1491; beatified in 1771. Jane founded and was the first prioress of a Carmel at Reggio. She refused all endowments except those freely given to the nuns as alms (Benedictines).


Patermuthius, Copras, and Alexander MM (RM) Died c. 363. The story of Patermuthius proves that where there is life, there is hope. He was a notorious robber, who was converted by the Egyptian hermit, Saint Copras. Thereafter, Patermuthius himself became a hermit. They were martyred together with a converted soldier, named Alexander, under Julian the Apostate. While these men were definitely martyrs, their extant acta are unreliable as history (Benedictines).


Veronica Giuliani, OFM Cap. Abbess (RM)
Born in Mercatello, Urbino, Italy, 1660; died at Città di Castello, Umbria, July 9, 1727; beatified in 1804; canonized in 1839.

Saint Veronica Giuliani was canonized for her piety but she is more often remembered for the marvels surrounding her life. She was born Ursula Giuliana, the daughter of a family of wealth and breeding.

Ursula was devout from a very early age. By the time she was six, she was giving her food and clothing to the poor. By age 11, she was pursuing a devotion to the Lord's Passion. Also early in life she was intolerant of those who were not as devoted as she, but this tendency was tempered by a vision.

She took great enjoyment in the increased station her father's promotion to public office at Piacenza brought, and she reproached herself for it in later years. She decided to become a nun after experiencing a vision of the Virgin Mary, but her father opposed her plan. He insisted on introducing her to eligible suitors, which caused her to become ill from anxiety. In 1677, her father finally gave in and allowed her to become a nun at the Capuchin convent of Città di Castello in Umbria, where she took the name Veronica.

Her novitiate was difficult. She became more intense in her devotion to the Passion of Christ and experienced a vision of Him bearing the cross. At this time, she began to experience a feeling of pain over her heart. In 1693, she had another vision in which the chalice of Christ's sufferings was offered to her. On Easter 1694 she was espoused to Jesus in a vision and the imprint of the Crown of Thorns appeared on her head.

Three years later she saw Blessed Virgin Mary say to Jesus, 'let thy bride be crucified with thee.' Then at age 37, she received the stigmata in hands, feet, and side during a long period of ecstasy on April 5, 1697. Medical treatment was given, but the wounds did not heal. Her journal records experience.

In her journal she tells of the rays of light that came from Jesus' wounds and became small flames of fire, four in the form of great pointed nails, the fifth a spear-head of gleaming gold. She writes, "I felt a fearful agony of pain, but with the pain I clearly saw and was conscious that I was wholly transformed into God. When I had been thus wounded, in my heart, in my hands and feet, the rays of light gleaming with a new radiance shot back to the Crucifix, and illuminated the gashed side, the hands and feet of Him who was hanging there. Thus My Lord and My God espoused me, and gave me in charge to His Most Holy Mother for ever and ever, and bade my Guardian Angel watch over me, for He was jealous of His honor, and then thus He spoke to me: 'I am Thine, I give Myself wholly unto thee. Ask whatsoever thou wilt, it shall be granted thee.' I made reply: 'Beloved, only one thing I ask, never to be separated from Thee.' And then in a twinkling all vanished away."

Roused, she found the wounds aching and blood and water pouring from her side. She did not want the wounds to be seen, but they were visible until 1700, because Jesus promised her that the marks would only last three years. Thereafter, only her side bled.

Shortly after they first appeared, her wounds were examined by the bishop of Città di Castello, who devised a special, fraud excluding regimen for her. The wounds were bandaged, and the dressings fastened shut with the bishop's seal; she was separated from the other sisters and watched carefully. The wounds remained. During her ecstasies she emitted a sweet odor of sanctity and she levitated. The local bishop was impressed by her obedience and humility throughout and was convinced that the phenomenon was genuine. A favorable report was given to the Holy Office and Veronica was permitted to resume normal community life.

Veronica was the novice mistress for 34 years, forbidding the novices to read books of advanced mysticism. Instead, she insisted on the fundamental virtues fostered by reading Rodriguez's Christian and religious perfection. She was elected abbess in 1716 and served in that capacity for the last 11 years of her life. Not only did the spiritual life of the community improve during her abbacy, but also their physical comfort for Veronica was a practical woman. She installed piped water into the convent and expanded and enlarged its buildings.

She died of apoplexy. She had told her confessor that the instruments of the Lord's Passion were imprinted on her heart, and she drew their positioning for him more than once as she said they changed location over the years. Her heart was examined after death and "miraculously" showed images of a cross, crown of thorns, and chalice, as she had said it would. Examination also revealed a curvature of the right shoulder as if she had carried a heavy cross. (Imagination of the doctors?)

An autobiographical account (10 volumes) she had written at the command of her confessor was used in the process of her beatification and has been published since her canonization. Her mystical experiences were accurately authenticated by eyewitnesses. Through she was in a state of almost continuous ecstacy, she was in no way visionary, but a most practical and level-headed religious. Levitations and stigmata, which ceased bleeding at a word of command, reveal Veronica as one of the best documented examples of how prolonged and intense consideration of Christ's Passion can have an extraordinary effect in the faithful.

She is portrayed in art holding a heart marked with a cross (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Harrison, White).


Zeno and Companions MM (RM)
Died c. 300. One of the 10,204 Christians condemned to work on the baths of Diocletian in Rome by that Emperor, Zeno was evidently their spokesman. All of them were slaughtered by Diocletian's orders (Benedictines, Delaney).



About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.